Thursday, June 30, 2005

Party Unity is a Beautiful Thing

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2005 at 4:34 PM

Sure, you have to play hardball to win a contested party primary, but Van Hilleary really has the gloves off in an email blast out today. Wanting to show his U.S. Senate bid has legs by pumping up the fund-raising numbers for the second quarter (which ends today), Hilleary's email implores supporters to open their wallets by midnight tonight, because otherwise...well...the barbarians are at the gate (and they aren't Democratic barbarians):

"If our campaign shows strength, the entire country will know that Tennessee is standing tall for conservative values. If we don't show strength, the pro-tax, socially-liberal, weak-kneed Republicans who want to defeat us will be emboldened."

Of course, if I win the nomination, I'll be counting on those pro-tax, socially liberal, weak-kneed Republicans becoming emboldened to vote for me in the general election.

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do the movies suck?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2005 at 11:56 AM

"Why are the movies so bad?" That's the question posed by Rob Nelson to critic David Thomson in the Minneapolis City Pages this week.

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Wheel Tax Legit?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2005 at 8:40 AM

Interesting questions about the legitimacy of Metro Council's decision to fund next year's city budget with a $20 increase in the county's auto registration fee are raised in a post at Looking at the relevant part of the Tennessee Code that addresses county motor vehicle taxes, Hobbs wonders:

[a] Is this $20 fee increase the kind of "motor vehicle privilege tax" described in section 5-8-102 of the Code?

[b] If so, did Council meet the requirements of paragraph (c) of that section, which calls for a two-thirds majority vote on two consecutive occasions to authorize such a tax?

The June 7 vote on first reading was 16-5 (13 abstentions).
The June 21 vote on second reading was 22-3 (11 abstentions).
The June 28 vote on third reading was 26-10 (3 abstentions).

If this section of the Code does apply, then the validity of Council's action may turn on the meaning of the Code's phrase "two-thirds (2/3) vote of the county legislative body." If it means two-thirds of the entire 40-member council, then none of the three votes meets the standard. If it means two-thirds of those present and voting, with abstentions included, then only the vote on third reading makes it. But if it means two-thirds of those voting yes or no (with abstentions equivalent to not voting), then the votes on first and second readings clear the hurdle.

Bring on the lawyers.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Right On

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 3:32 PM

With Roger away this week, it falls to me to bring both left and right perspectives to PITW, so let's have us a look see at some conservative blogosphere commentary on the president's misbegotten televised speech on Iraq last night. Prizes will be awarded.

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Brought to you by the letter Z ...and another letter Z...and another Z...

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 2:59 PM

CNN have their finger on the pulse of the world. They report every event quickly and clearly and they always have insightful things to say, such as this article called:

The Internet transforms modern life.

I also enjoy the fact that they refer to 1994 as "Back then."

Up Next: Penicillin! The new way to fight bacterial infections!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Numbers

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:02 PM

Bush's speech, by the numbers (via Think Progress):

References to "September 11": 5
References to "weapons of mass destruction": 0
References to "freedom": 21
References to "exit strategy": 0
References to "Saddam Hussein": 2
References to "Osama Bin Laden": 2
References to "a mistake": 1 (setting a timetable for withdrawal)
References to "mission": 11
References to "mission accomplished": 0

Bush Speech: Nothing New

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2005 at 7:28 PM


Fifteen minutes into the speech, Bush announced what he called "three new steps":

- partnering Iraq forces with others
- embeddeding coalition teams in Iraqi units
- coordinating activities with Iraqi ministries

He's kidding, right? We haven't been doing these things for two years?

He did say something else worth noting because he said it dozens of times: "terrorists." Terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists. "The principle task of our military is to find and defeat the terrorists." Terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists.

It's obvious that the speech-making strategy is to make Iraq the place where terrorists "are making their stand" and so we will stay in Iraq "until the fight is won." Near the end, 28 minutes into a 29-minute speech, Bush said, "After September 11, 2001 I told the American people that the road ahead would be difficult and we would prevail." Translation: Endless war.

Oh yeah, one other new thing: The Defense Department has a new website. Now that's leadership!

A disastrous speech by a paralyzed and inarticulate commander in chief who has nothing new to say, but figures saying it in front of a room full of people in uniform, with the word "terrorist" mentioned as frequently as possible, somehow gives it heft and gravitas.

Insert Zombie Pun Here

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2005 at 3:29 PM

I've always hated science. I've hated science ever since they made me dissect a sheep's eyeball in 7th grade and I poked it with a scalpel and got purple sheep goo on my brand new super cool t-shirt that I just had to have because like, everyone who was anyone was wearing it, and like, my life would totally be over if my mom didn't buy it for me, and she didn't really want my life to be over, did she? DID SHE? Anyway. The point is, I hate science. I also hate sheep eyeballs, but luckily I don't encounter them very often.

However, had I known that if I studied hard and learned my periodic table of elements, I might one day be able to create Zombie Dogs, I might have paid more attention.

Monday's Money Quote...

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2005 at 7:38 AM

...came in Sandra Day O'Connor's concurring opinion in the Supreme Court case on posting of the Ten Commandments in a Kentucky courthouse. She offered this cogent rebuke to those on the right who are so anxious to blur the lines of separation between church and state:

At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails, while allowing private religious exercise to flourish....Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?

UPDATE: This morning the Supreme Court did a final round of case-taking and case-declining for next term before recessing for the summer. In the "leave well enough alone" department, the court turned down several possible appeals on church-state issues involving the Ten Commandments and related matters. Specifically: the court declined to take cases from Ohio and Kentucky where lower courts had found 10C displays in schools unconstitutional; the court declined an appeal from an Ohio state judge who was told he could not have a 10C poster in his courtroom; and the court declined to accept a case involving a South Carolina town told by a lower court that it cannot open city council meetings with prayers referring to Jesus Christ. (Keep in mind that although refusing to take a case lets the lower court outcome stand, it doesn't imply any viewpoint by the Supremes on the merits; it's just a decision not to hear the appeal.)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Door-to-door sales

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 12:21 PM

Should you really settle on a basic spiritual belief this quickly? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say some of these new converts are good targets for door-to-door encyclopedia and Ginsu knife sales:

Doorsteps across the Midstate became altars of salvation for more than 400 people during a one-day evangelism blitz by Southern Baptists challenged to leave their comfort zones and boldly witness to strangers.
In all, the Bible-toting volunteers visited more than 41,600 homes, and about 4,500 people wanted to discuss the Gospel or spiritual issues, Johnston said. According to preliminary figures, 449 were converted on their doorsteps.

Incidentally, note the reverent tone, bordering on outright awe, of the story.

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